The best way I’ve heard submission described was at M/s conference in 08. Submission is not following your Master. It is preceding him, clearing the path, and reporting back to him on any pitfalls or problems you see ahead. It is trusting him, to guide and navigate, to keep you safe.
The most common way I’ve heard Dominance described uses words that I wouldn’t use to describe a dog. Especially today – there are a LOT of anti-Dominant posts, and a lot of “Submissives Deserve XYZ” posts. But one thing I’ve almost never heard…what do Dominants deserve? Where is our "10" list?
1. Know your Responsibilities.
Dominants have responsibilities. We hear a LOT about that in our community. We have the responsibility to be forgiving and understanding. We have the responsibility to be strong and independent. We have the responsibility to be wise and patient, and to be controlled and in control of ourselves and our partners. We have to accept accountability for whatever happens with the submissive. We have the responsibility to take responsibility (and accountability) for both our actions, and (often) our submissives’ actions.
Well, submissive responsibilities exist too. (No, not “suck my dick daily” kinds of responsibilities. Those are play rules, or relationship kinks.) Responsibilities in submission are supposed to include communication with your Dominant. Having patience with the relationship. Working to build trust with your partner. And having realistic expectations of the relationship, while understanding the meaning of discretion when things need work. You know…all the stuff below?
2. Remember Patience?
Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, and grace is a little girl…
When you start dating someone – you don’t ask them to marry you the first week out. Nor the first month, or (hopefully) the first year. So why are you in a rush to be “collared” immediately? Why is there this pressure to invent a myriad variety of “collars” to validate every single status change in the relationship? Date. Hang out. Talk.
The same with fetishes. I understand you are a HUGE anal slut. But let’s build up to that. Yes, I can probably put together a scene with 23 different ass sensation toys, and a half dozen different positions, with FancyRopeWork (tm). But why? Let’s share other experiences. Let’s learn each other before moving into what should be a permanent relationship.
It takes time before a dominant becomes YOUR Master. It takes time for us to learn your little idiosyncrasies. It takes experience to recognize your body language, and to be able to intuit your fears and your feelings. There will be false starts, and stops, and pitfalls, and awkward situations. If you actually want a relationship with your Dominant…be realistic about it. (see #3)
Expecting us to immediately rock your world...it happens sometimes. But most of the time, it takes time and effort before we know you well enough to really rock out.
3. Have Realistic Expectations.
You aren't perfect? Well, neither am We. We’re learning every day. A good Dominant (one who will eventually be worthy of the title “Master”) is constantly working on those imperfections, through self-help, personal exploration, educational classes, and reading. Expecting a 29 year old to pay for all your dates, have a fully equipped dungeon, be the perfect boyfriend, help pay your rent when you’re behind, god-like lover, and be a Master-of-All-Toys is, frankly, naive.
It takes a lot of work to build a relationship - and that relationship has to be built from both ends. We understand that you are sacrificing a lot when you surrender your body - often, so are we (see #9). We are as giving as we can be of our time, our money, and our emotions. It hurts us just as much when we're dropped, dumped, manipulated or lied to. But, you may have noticed, we don’t have “Dominant support” groups, by and large. So while you’re risking more of your body and heart on the front end – we’re risking a hell of a lot of our soul and our mind on the back end.
If we’re with you, and making an honest effort…respect that. We respect you (even when we’re calling you cunts while whipping your ass) for your ability to take pain and suffering and then turn it into something amazing. We recognize your talents and efforts. Please, recognize ours.
It’s a real roller coaster ride to have a submissive who is one person in the morning, another at night, and a complete third when she skips her meds (see #7). And roller coasters are fun…but they don’t make for great daily activities.
We’re going to do the best we can to enforce the rules consistently. To respond to your needs as much as we can, when we can. To be the same Dominant on Monday that we are Saturday night. What we ask in return? The same thing from you. Make the effort (see #9) to follow those rules. Don’t give us the A#1 effort Saturday night at the party, and then just coast on the relationship for the rest of the week.
There’s something to be said for a sub who is the same Monday through Sunday in her level of devotion, her level of commitment, and her level of caring. We honestly don’t care if that level is low, medium, high, or barely existent. We’ll work with that – that’s what a Dominant does. We motivate, we train, and we guide. But if you’re giving us a different persona and a different level of submission every other day… the greatest Master in the scene couldn’t deal with that 24/7. Neither can we.
5. Discretion within the relationship.
Yeah, so. Going online and chatting in a slaves group, or on Fet, about how your Master doesn't scratch your itch, or how you're so disappointed he didn't do SexyMoveA#1 last night? That's not cool. We don't (believe it or not) go around gossiping with every Dominant we know about how tight your ass was last night, or how funny you looked sobbing after an emotional edge play scene. Please have the same courtesy - don't assume that just because you're the submissive, you can talk about anything in our relationship that you want to and call it "submissive sharing". If you have a genuine issue in the relationship - we should be the first person you talk to about it. Not your online friends. See #10 about that.
This is not an endorsement of abuse. If you are being abused (physically, emotionally, financially, psychologically, sexually, etc.), for the love of God, go to your local shelter. Your nearest victim advocate. Or the closest police station.
But please bear in mind – below that particular level? Relationships will always have problems…talking to your partner solves a LOT of them.
6. Trust. (No really, actual trust, not "earn it or else" trust)
No, this doesn’t mean trust me immediately from word one. That would be insane.
But this ties in with #8 and #9. You’ve heard the old adage “trust takes time”? Well, trust also takes effort. And communication (see #10). From both parties. Trust is a two way street. If your Dominant has to constantly prove that he’s worthy of your trust, then why are you with him?
I was once with a woman who had me convinced that it was a Dominant’s job to constantly be earning and re-earning trust. I heard the mantra of “a Master /earns/ trust” at least once a day. The entire relationship was one long marathon of constant effort to “earn” her trust by doing everything she wanted, and never disagreeing with her. It took a slap ‘round the head and shoulders by a senior Dominant and very trusted friend before I realized that I was being used.
This is a no brainer. But unfortunately, it rarely gets spoken of in our lifestyle. If you have depression, bi-polar, manic episodes, or have been described by previous friends, dominants or family members as a "wild and crazy" type...the odds are that you, in fact, need therapy. Possibly medication. There’s no shame in that – a HUGE percentage of people in this modern world have psychological issues that need to be addressed with pills or therapy. Please seek it BEFORE approaching a dominant. We, in return, will attempt to do the same for our own issues. Entering deeply emotional and effort-related relationships should be done AFTER the mental health issues are addressed and under control.
8. Stop Recycling the Past.
Your last Dominant hurt you. Or didn't measure up. I understand that, personally. My last submissive didn't either (see #7). But that said...this is us, starting fresh. I certainly want to know if your last Dom was abusive, hurtful, or cruel. You need to know if my last submissive was, too. That's part of the whole "communication skills" thing in #10 and it will affect how we interact. I do NOT, however, need to hear a daily address list of the A-Z of everything you ever disliked about him...or a weekly update on how I compare to him. Considering that I probably don't do any of the former, and don't care about the latter. This is a new relationship. You wouldn't enjoy me constantly comparing you, out loud, to my last girl. You wouldn't enjoy an intimate partner constantly comparing you to their last lover. I don't enjoy it either. Keep the past, in the past.
9. Honest Effort and Understanding.
You want us to know how hard submission is? Well, we want you to know how hard Domination is. We have to think in three dimensions about the emotional and psychological impact of everything from our tone of voice to our tools, from our clothes and cologne to our cock and cunt hair. It's exhausting at times, and just like submissives...sometimes we burn out. Sometimes we're too tired to be SparkleMasterLeatherDom/me. And just like we are expected (by our Dominant brothers and sisters, if not by our submissives) to be consistently understanding and supportive of slaves rights and feelings...we deserve a little consideration ourselves.
10. Communication Skills.
Domination AND submission. Master AND slave. Top AND bottom. Please note the "and". You AND me. Kenova AND Cassie. Snowy AND Toy. The "and"? That has a lot of meaning. It means that just as much as you expect us, the Dominants, to communicate with you about your training and performance...we expect the same. We deserve the same. If you have concerns - you need to talk to us, not post it on Fetlife. If you feel hurt, you need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your Dom, not slam them to all of your friends. If you honestly believe that your Dom has problems? Talk to them about it. Be a big girl/boy/boi/slave/slut/whore/bottom/queer/toy/androgyne.
But if you can't communicate at least as well as you expect your Dominant to communicate to you? If you aren’t making the honest effort (see #9) to become a better communicator? Then you're the problem, not the Dom.